Examples of Homeostatic Control Mechanisms

Instructor: Dominic Corsini
Why do people sweat when they run? What do your kidneys really do? This lesson answers those questions through an investigation into homeostatic control mechanisms. A brief summary and quiz are included.

What Is Homeostasis?

Some people love to run. They'll run marathons, half marathons, 10k, and 5k races. Heck, some people just get up and run in the morning without ever feeling the need to enter an actual race. But no matter who the runner is or where someone runs, if you run long enough, you will eventually start to sweat.

Sweating is one example of how our bodies try to maintain homeostasis. Homeostasis is essentially a state of internal balance. It is the term used to describe our bodies controlling their internal conditions to remain stable and constant. When running, our core body temperature rises above the constant 98.6 degrees F we're used to. As a result, we start to sweat in an effort to cool ourselves and maintain that controlled temperature.

Examples of Homeostatic Control

Our bodies need to maintain homeostasis in order to survive. Therefore, we have several homeostatic control mechanisms in place to help us maintain our good health. We've already discussed sweating to help control our body temperature. Let's add to that regulating blood glucose levels, water and ion regulation, and hormone regulation.

1. The proper maintenance of blood glucose levels (also called blood sugar levels) is crucial to our survival. Regulatory control of these levels belongs to our pancreas. When blood sugar levels get too high, which can be toxic, the pancreas releases insulin, which is a hormone that decreases blood glucose levels to maintain a healthy balance.

2. Another example comes in the form of water and ion regulation, controlled by another vital organ, the kidneys. Kidneys help control the amount of water and ions, such as sodium, in our bodies by filtering our blood. In fact, our two kidneys combine to filter over 100 quarts of blood per day! This amounts to the production of about 1 or 2 quarts of urine, which is excreted from the body as waste.

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